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Reviews for August 8th, 2018

Dog Days

Directed by Ken Marino

      Five storylines intersect with dogs also involved in each story. Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) flirts with a cocky veterinarian (Michael Cassidy) while Garrett (Jon Bass), an insecure young man, has a crush on her. Garrett owns a dog rescue center where Tara sent her dog to for adoption. Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) a TV talk show host, deals with a new co-host, Jimmy (Tone Bell), while struggling to overcome a recent break-up with her boyfriend. She's seeing a very expensive dog therapist, Danielle (Tig Notaro). Grace (Eva Longoria) and Kurt (Rob Corddry), a married couple, adopt an 8-year-old, Amelia (Elizabeth Caro) and bring home a lost pug who ran away from its owner. The pug's owner, Walter (Ron Cephas Jones), searches for his beloved pug with the help of a pizza delivery boy, Tyler (Finn Wolfhard). Dax (Adam Pally), a rock musician must take care of the dog belonging to his older sister, Ruth (Jessica St. Clair), while she goes into labor.

      Dog Days is The screenplay by Elissa Matsueda and Erica Oyama has a formulaic plot has very little in terms of surprises, but so what? There's nothing wrong with a plot being predictable and formulaic because, as Roger Ebert once wisely observed, it's more important how a film goes about its plot than what its plot is about. Each story has something to offer and could stand on its own as the main plot in a separate film. There's a some romance, comedy and a drama with a hint of tragedy involving the backstory of Walter and the grief he experience over his deceased wife. Ron Cephas Jones provides much-needed gravitas during a poignant scene toward the end. When it comes to the romantic elements, there are a few cheesy moments that require a dose insulin, especially in the scenes with Tara and Garrett and Elizabeth and Jimmy. It's not nearly as wise and witty as a Richard Curtis film. However, Dog Days isn't nearly as cheesy as a Nicholas Sparks film; it veers closer to a Garry Marshall film. Not all of the jokes land, but some of them are quite funny, and there are jokes that only adults would be able to understand like references to Exit to Eden and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. The highlight though, is Phoebe Neidhardt, who's the funniest among the cast and nearly steals the show with her comedic timing as a weather woman like Steve Carell did as a weather man in Bruce Almighty.

      Director Ken Marino maintains a light, breezy tone and a brisk pace. There are also plenty of cute and charming moments to be found, and if you're a dog lover or, better yet, a dog owner, you'll be find Dog Days to be irresistibly entertaining. To be fair, though, its weakest aspect the weight of its running time of 112 minutes which could've been trimmed down a little to make it more palatable for younger audiences; around the 90 minute mark the film does begin to overstay its welcome, but at least it doesn't drag too much nor become lethargic. Also, it's a masterpiece compared to the painfully unfunny, infantile Show Dogs. Fortunately, the dogs in Dog Days don't talk. Please be sure to stay through the end credits for hilarious bloopers. Ultimately, Dog Days is pleasantly diverting and harmless. It's a funny, delightful and heartwarming treat for the entire family.

Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by LD Entertainment.
Opens nationwide.
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